Tuesday 18 January 2011

Out with the old, in with the new.

It seems like no time at all since the flaming shades of autumn were gracing the countryside and we were enjoying beautiful walks in the Peak District and the Shropshire Hills. The warm, sunny days were full of promise; ice and snow seemed a long way away.

Since then, though, winter arrived with a vengeance, locking the country in its icy grip and threatening to bury Christmas under inches of snow. What with shortening days, the weather, preparations for Christmas and family commitments, the last weeks of 2010 yielded only a few short local walks – all pleasant enough in their own way but lacking a little in challenge.

Consequently our annual mileage total suffered slightly too, coming in at around 650 miles – a little down on our best year, but good enough considering we had family to look after and only took one two-week vacation. A few days off over the festive period yielded three short circuits in Shropshire – a final flurry for 2010 – plus a good start to the New Near clocking up 20 or so miles in and around Dentdale.

Now our thoughts turn to 2011 and the possibilities that lie ahead. Although the days are still short, bit-by-bit they are drawing out. In the meantime, the long January long evenings provide a great opportunity for planning, and holidays are at the forefront of our considerations. In the next few days we will have a couple of trips booked; something concrete to look forward to, to pull us towards spring and to make things look a bit brighter in these still-dark days.

I’m sure there is more winter to come. Travel might be yet be difficult and the days cold once more. But, although there is always the chance of one of those crisp, clear, bright spells that make for great winter walking, it’s nice to have something to focus on that can infuse a warm glow when the chilly, grey days return.

I have high hopes for the coming year, looking forward to new places visited and more miles walked – and a bit more blogging, too. So here’s to 2011 – let’s hope it’s a good vintage!

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